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Photo by Jim Millard

The Long Journey:
Part II
The road to Saratoga 

by Emily L. Marcason
 

Lady Christian Henrietta Acland came from a wealthy family and was a popular woman in London's society. Never would her family or friends have imagined that at the age of 27 would Lady Acland be aboard a military convoy headed for America. Yet, there she was on April 8, 1776 accompanying her husband of five years, Major John Dyke Acland, to America. 1

Lady Acland had some luxuries aboard the Kent, bound for America. Both husband and wife had their respected servants and the family dog also made the journey. Yet, it is interesting to note that Lady Acland was not the only woman along with the five companies of Major Acland's regiment.

Ticonderoga and Mount Independence from Mt. Defiance. Photo by Jim Millard. Copyright © 2004 America's Historic Lakes
The Baroness von Riedesel and Lady Acland traveled along
Lake Champlain on their journeys. Photo by Jim Millard
Copyright © 2004 America's Historic Lakes

 She was actually one of a few wives and children aboard. The British Army "permitted three women per company to travel with their men, to serve as laundresses, cooks and nurses." 2

It wasn't until weeks later that the Kent saw land. According to Lady Acland's journal the sight of land was marvelous after such a treacherous journey over the North Atlantic. On May 18, Lady Acland recorded her feelings about seeing land for the first time in days. "…The hills rose immediately from the shore magnificently bold, clothed with the most beautiful trees, silver firs, larch, sycamore and many other plants with which we were unacquainted…" 3

Eleven days later on May 27, the Aclands set foot on Quebec soil.


Click on the image to see an illustration
 of a British camp.

(Illustrations: Benson J. Lossing)

Details of the specific locations of Lady Acland up until she meets her husband at Fort Edwards in August of 1777 are blurry. It was after the battle on July 6 that took place near Samuel Churchill's house in Hubbardton, that Major Acland wrote to his wife in Montreal and urged her

to join him while he recovered from his wounds. She set sail on July 13, the same day she received her husband's letter, despite a terrible storm that nearly crashed her boat into nearby rocks. On July 18 she was at her husband's side at Mount Independence. 4


The Baroness Frederika Charlotte Louise von Riedesel, wife of the commanding general of the Brunswick troops of Germany serving with the British army, is considered one of the only woman reporters of the era, detailing military life as a woman and as a German during the Revolutionary War. Unlike Lady Acland, the Baroness had a unique journey to America: she traveled without her husband.

Although she had two small children and one on the way, the Baroness convinced her husband to allow her to accompany him to America. Her husband agreed to have his wife accompany him on two conditions: she was not allowed to travel during her pregnancy and she had to travel with a servant.5 Therefore, when the Brunswick troops left in February 1776, the Baroness remained at home. Early in April, the Brunswick troops, the General included, left Portsmouth, England and sailed to Canada to join Burgoyne’s troops.6

By May 14, the Baroness and the new baby girl, Caroline, were feeling up to traveling. After a rendezvous in London for the winter due to the Baroness missing the ship leaving in the autumn to America, the Baroness and her three daughters set sail for America on April 16, 1777 on a merchant ship which arrived at Quebec on June 11. 7  “My heart,” she wrote, “was filled with a mixture of joy and sadness and with the longing to be with him again soon, to hold him in my arms and to bring to him our dear children.” 8 It would still be many days, however, until the Baroness would be united with her husband.


Photo by Jim Millard. Copyright © 2004 America's Historic Lakes


The women attached to both the British and the American troops were used to traveling on unconventional roads. Photo by Jim Millard
Copyright © 2004 America's Historic Lakes

The General was anxious to see his wife after many months of separation. He had been suffering the pangs of homesickness. At the time, he was 39 and very much in love with his wife. Since he had left their home in Germany, streams of love letters to the Baroness made evident his loneliness and love for her. 9

The General and the Brunswickers were moving south with the British army during June and were always seemingly a step ahead of the Baroness. In July, the British army and German troops captured Fort Ticonderoga and then moved into Fort Anne and Fort Edward.10 After the capture of Ticonderoga, the General wrote his wife and told her that she could meet him during the British advancement to Albany. The General appointed a guide, Capt. Sam Willoe, to guide the family to the General’s camp.11

The Baroness and her daughters traveled up the St. Lawrence River, to the Richelieu River to Lake Champlain. Once on Lake Champlain, the group sailed across the lake to the waterway leading to Lake George.12  According to the journal the Baroness kept, the family traveled on a boat belonging to her husband but was accompanied by another vessel that was heavily armed.13  The Baroness had to lay her coat on the ground so that she and her children had a place to sleep. Despite being a woman of high class, it was not uncommon for the Baroness to be forced to adapt to the hardships of an army.

On August 14, the family reached Fort Edward. The next day the Baroness had the reunion she had been dreaming of. The Baroness soon after her arrival learned that her presence at the camp in Fort Edward was in part because of Lady Acland. A few days prior to her arrival, Burgoyne had been dining with his officers and heard that Major Acland’s wife was on her way to join the major at Fort Edward. Burgoyne said to General Riedesel, “You ought to let your wife come too.” 14

When the British army began to move towards Albany on September 11, 1771, the Baroness and her daughters were able to travel with the General. It was then on to Saratoga.



-Part III-
A needed spark

Sources/Notes:

1 Richard Ketchum, “Saratoga: Turning point of America’s Revolutionary War” (Owl Book: Published by Henry Holt and Company, New York 1997) 89.

2 lbid., 90.

3 lbid., 92.

4 lbid., 214.


5 Marvin Brown, “Baroness von Riedesel and the American Revolution: Journal and Correspondence of a tour of duty 1776-1783” (University of North Carolina Press: Published by Kingsport Press, Tennessee 1965) xxviii.

6
lbid., 145-175.

7
Richard Ketchum, “Saratoga: Turning point of America’s Revolutionary War” (Owl Book: Published by Henry Holt and Company, New York 1997) 129.

8
Marvin Brown, “Baroness von Riedesel and the American Revolution: Journal and Correspondence of a tour of duty 1776-1783” (University of North Carolina Press: Published by Kingsport Press, Tennessee 1965) 31.

9 Richard Ketchum, “Saratoga: Turning point of America’s Revolutionary War” (Owl Book: Published by Henry Holt and Company, New York 1997) 129.

10
Marvin Brown, “Baroness von Riedesel and the American Revolution: Journal and Correspondence of a tour of duty 1776-1783” (University of North Carolina Press: Published by Kingsport Press, Tennessee 1965) xxx.

11
lbid., 42.

12
lbid., xxx.

13
lbid., 42.

14 Richard Ketchum, “Saratoga: Turning point of America’s Revolutionary War” (Owl Book: Published by Henry Holt and Company, New York 1997) 291.

Illustrations by Benson J. Lossing and Felix Darley: Benson J. Lossing. "THE PICTORIAL FIELD-BOOK OF THE WAR OF 1812; OR, ILLUSTRATIONS, BY PEN AND PENCIL, OF THE HISTORY, BIOGRAPHY, SCENERY, RELICS, AND TRADITIONS OF THE LAST WAR FOR AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE." 1869. Courtesy of the Floyd Harwood Collection.
 

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